That’s not an isolated or fringe view. “The U.S. racial wealth gap is ... driven by public policy decisions,” a recent study from researchers at Brandeis University and the think tank Demos concluded.
Slavery is only the most obvious of dozens of laws that kept African-Americans from building wealth. Homestead programs before and after slavery was abolished benefitted only white Americans, Woo said. For decades, unions were legally allowed to exclude blacks from organized labor. “A more recent policy that excluded people,” added Woo, “would be the benefits to veterans after WWII for qualifying for mortgages but also for post-secondary education.”